July 30th, 2012
06:10 PM ET

5th grader's speech topic goes viral

by James Dinan, CNN

(CNN) – Ten-year-old Kameron Slade has become an online sensation, and it’s all due to one speech.

Slade wanted to deliver a speech supporting same-sex marriage for a contest at his Queens, New York, elementary school, but the principal deemed it inappropriate and barred him from making it.

After word of his plight went viral, including YouTube videos of him reading the speech, Slade was eventually allowed to deliver his remarks at a different school assembly. Last week, he appeared before the New York City Council, again delivering his call to accept same-sex marriage.

Kameron Slade spoke to CNN’s Carol Costello about his whirlwind experience. Click on the above video to hear why he wanted to talk about same-sex marriage and more.

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Filed under: Issues • video • Voices
July 30th, 2012
11:30 AM ET

Should we be teaching algebra?

by Donna Krache, CNN

(CNN) In an op-ed in Sunday’s New York Times, Professor Andrew Hacker asks “Is Algebra necessary?”

He answers that question “no.”  Hacker says that algebra “is a stumbling block for all kinds of students” and that it takes a toll on both high school and college graduation rates.

He says that while the study of math is important, “…in the decade ahead a mere 5 percent of entry-level workers will need to be proficient in algebra or above.”

The question of whether or not to teach algebra sparked a lively discussion on Monday’s Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien.

CNN education contributor Steve Perry says for students of historically disadvantaged populations, algebra “does present a real barrier” to graduating college because “too few take requisite number of math courses.”

Perry acknowledges that “Algebra is a gatekeeper,” but adds “I don’t know that it’s necessary for every child."  He says that we need to get away from “one-size-fits-all academic experiences.”

“We need to create more compelling academic experiences that children are more connected to,” says Perry.

He says that colleges and the SAT measure algebra.  “But is what we’re teaching the best way to ensure we’re getting the best from every child?”

What do you think?  Should schools be teaching algebra?  Post your thoughts in the Comments section below.


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Filed under: Issues • Math • Perry's Principles • Starting Point • video • Voices